FIRST Canada Senior Mentor Paul Keenan

 We caught up with Paul after watching his exhausting Cirque de Soleil practice to learn more about the man behind the SWAG!

Q: What is your role as an FSM? 


All the FSMs in North America have the same roles really. We are here to help mentors, support teams, start teams, raise money, provide technical support to teams and help find new mentors and event volunteers.

Q: What sorts of responsibilities do you have in your role


Well, each of us have some of the same basic responsibilities but also take on special projects and tasks. Often, those are suggested by either Mark Breadner or one of the program partners here in Ontario; Christine Bibic, Annika Pint, Dave Ellis or John Hobbins. One of mine is to work with FRC Rookie teams to help get them going and to apply for the New Team Growth Grant from FIRST HQ. I work on this one with John Hobbins, Regional Director for FRC in Ontario. Our track record of getting these grants over the past 5 years is pretty good.

Paul in the stands. Can you see him there?

Granddaughter in Notre Dame Cheerleading Outfit

Q: What do you do outside of FIRST 


Hmmm, many would say that I don’t do anything outside of FIRST. I used to teach and will occasionally make a phone app game for one of my granddaughters just for fun. I have for about 20 years in the fall taken a trip to South Bend, Indiana to see a Notre Dame football game (my nephew went there on a track scholarship. That is the connection).

Q:What is the coolest experience you have had with FIRST?

De Lasalle Basketball Team


For me the coolest thing is to see how eager competing teams are to help other teams when they run into difficulties. When I was a teacher, I did a lot of coaching; hockey, basketball, softball, football, soccer (once), and when Mr. Breadner approached me about starting a team at my school and told us this was how it was, I didn’t believe him. But that is exactly the way it is! I guess the other cool thing is that in all the events I have attended I have never heard any booing at a FIRST event. 



Doing Crosswords

Dressed like his son!

Q:What are some of your hobbies?


I do a lot of walking to get away from my computer. Take a lot of pictures at family events to make my yearly Nana Calendar. I like to do crossword puzzles and even saw Dean Kamen as an answer in a Saturday Star Crossword.  I thought in retirement that I might join Cirque de Soleil but they haven’t approached me yet.


Thank you for all that you do for FIRST Canada!